Luckily, Amazon is perfect for this. They have pretty much everything ever, and they allow you to categorize your list into "must have," "like to have," and "nice to have." So, I am categorizing as I go. If it is on there as a placeholder and has yet to be decided upon/researched, it is "nice to have." If we know for a fact that we definitely want it, it is "must have" or "like to have."
Basically, it's super convenient. Except that when I look at the registry, my head starts spinning because over half of it is still "nice to have." In other words: we have no freaking clue.
Some things that still fall in the "nice to have" category on our list (and this is not a complete list because looking at everything we still need to figure out at once would probably cause my head to explode, and plus we're only talking about baby gear here, and not all the other stuff we need to figure out, like oh, I don't know, daycare? AGH):
- Bathing mechanism
- Cloth diapers (research questions remaining to be addressed: do we want to do cloth diapers? If so, what kind? But that is a subject for another post)
- Breast pump
- Bouncy seat
- Baby monitor
Here is what we were basically thinking: get the crib. Set it up in the nursery. Try to use it for naps during the day (though according to Twitter the baby will sleep in all sorts of random places, and mostly on me, for at least the first six weeks). Set up some sort of sleeping mechanism like a bassinet or a co-sleeper in our bedroom, within arm's reach for easy access, to use at night.
But everyone has different opinions about this. And here's what it seems to boil down to: every baby is different, and sleeps differently, and has different preferences, and responds well or poorly to different things.
The gall! I mean seriously, why don't all babies come out the same, with an easy set of things to do that they will like and things to avoid that they won't like? And, barring that, I think we should get some sort of, I don't know, advance notice. Like hey, your baby won't sleep for the first six months. Or hey, your baby needs a swing to sleep, ever. Or hey, your baby will scream its head off if you put it in the bouncy seat.
I'm thinking like a weekly update from the uterus? This could also provide some much-desired information on the health and development of the baby. Two birds with one stone!
But, OK, this solution seems unlikely to appear sometime in the next six months (side note: my due date is exactly six months from today!), so let's discuss more realistic options.
First of all, I get it: We can't know. We can try to prepare, and do research and pick what we think will be the best option, but until Piglet gets here and starts showing us what does and doesn't work, we can't know. So we need to be prepared to be flexible.
Second of all: given that half of what we prepare for probably won't work, we'd rather not spend a ton of money on an array of baby products that wind up being totally useless. On the other hand, we don't want to have to stick the baby in a dresser drawer while we try to figure out what will work for it in the long run. A middle ground would be nice.
Third of all: we aren't interested in co-sleeping with the baby in our bed with us. This is the only given we've been able to agree on. It's just not for us. We definitely want the baby to have its own defined, separate sleep space. Even if it's one foot from our bed.
So now what? Do we buy some sort of bassinet or co-sleeper and assume the baby will sleep there at night? Do we try to make it sleep in its crib round the clock? Do we just give up and put the crib in our bedroom from the start? Do we do something else entirely?
Complicating factors: apparently the AAP says the safest place, from a SIDS perspective, for a baby to sleep is in its parents' room? I deal with a SIDS project at work, and I've edited a ton of science-based documents about SIDS prevention, and I had never heard of this recommendation until last night. Does this really make a difference? Or is it some sort of political middle ground? Also, is it really recommended for the baby to sleep in its parents' room until it's six months old? That seems like an awfully long time.
Also, I know that the point of having the kid near you is for middle-of-the-night nursing/convenience, but several people have pointed out to me that after the kid eats, it needs to be burped and have its diaper changed, so you end up getting up anyway. How does this actually work, in reality, from those of you who have been there? Is it really easier to have the kid right there? And if so, where do you change its diaper?
And, people say that their kid only slept in a bouncy seat/hated the bouncy seat/only slept in the swing/hated the swing. Is there a majority that prefers one or the other? What did/does your own kid prefer? And how do you find out if the kid hates the bouncy seat/swing without buying one to try out?
Plus, our house is two stories, with the bedrooms upstairs and the living areas downstairs. Does this mean we will want some sort of downstairs sleeping contraption as well? Will a bouncy seat/swing be sufficient, assuming Piglet doesn't hate both these things, or do we want a Pack N Play/bassinet/dresser drawer/I don't even know?
I understand that we can't answer all these questions before the baby is born, really I do. But my question really is, what CAN we do before the baby is born? Can we try to figure out what would work best for us, and plan for that, on the off-chance that the Piglet will comply with whatever sleeping situation we set up first? Are there certain things we can/should have on hand in advance? And what can wait until after the kid is actually here?